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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

When A Stranger Calls


Amber Duran watched the expensive black BMW pull out of the drive.  She waved goodbye to the doctor and his wife before entering the house and closing the door.

As she locked the door and set the alarm, a small hand tugged at her T-shirt.  “Amber, we’re bored,” came a voice belonging to nine year old, Nathan Carpenter, one of the children she was babysitting that evening.

“So, what would you like to do?” she asked, punching in the remaining number on the security alarm before turning her attention to him and his sister, Hannah, who was only seven.

Nathan shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t know.  You’re the babysitter.  You’re supposed to entertain us,” he told her, shoving his hands in the pockets of his bathrobe.

It was only six o’clock but because Nathan and Hannah had been battling the flu for the past week they were already dressed for bed.  Amber sighed.  She hated babysitting.  She hated it even more when the children were brats.  Add on the fact that they were sick and this was Amber’s idea of Hell. 

“Actually, Nathan, the job of a babysitter is to make sure you two are safe,” she told him, trying not to smile smugly at him.  She pointed to the front door.  “No one is getting in there, so technically, I’ve done my job.”  With that, she turned on her heel and marched off towards the living room where her school bag was.  She had a mountain of homework plus an assignment to finish off so the less time she spent entertaining the brats, the better it was going to be for her.

Nathan and Hannah followed meekly, shuffling their slippers on the wooden floor.  “But, Amber, we’re bored!” he complained, whining loudly.

Sighing loudly, Amber felt her head begin to pound as a headache began to set in.  “Fine, go and grab a board game and we’ll play a few rounds before you two head off to bed.  If you’ve been sick then bed is the best place to be.”

Hannah grinned before running off to the study to find a game to play.  Amber flopped onto the couch and chewed on her nail.  Just how she wanted to spend her Friday night.  Cooped up with a bunch of sick kids that in turn will probably make her sick too.

When Hannah returned she held up Candy Lane.  Amber forced a smile to her face and fought the urge to roll her eyes.  She hated Candy Lane.

Forty minutes later, Amber’s patience was running out.  She had lost two quick games to Hannah and Nathan was slowly falling asleep, his body succumbing to the flu symptoms.

“I win again!” cried Hannah, bouncing up and down, her fists raised above her head.  Amber rolled her eyes.  “Okay kiddo, we’re done for the night,” she announced, getting to her feet.  “Nathan, come on.  It’s bed time.”

Hannah began to plead that they get to stay up a little later, but a coughing fit soon put an end to that.  Begrudgingly, she and her brother made their way upstairs.

Sighing, Amber began packing up the game, her head on a tilt as she listened for the tell-tale signs that the kids weren’t climbing into their beds, but rather playing in their room.  After a few minutes of not hearing a noise Amber walked up to their room, poking her head in to make sure they were in bed.  Hannah had snuggled down with her teddy bear while Nathan was out to it, his mouth open as he snored softly.

Closing the door quietly, Amber smiled.  She had the entire house to herself, providing that she didn’t make too much noise.

She made her way back downstairs and into the kitchen.  The best part about babysitting was raiding the fridge.

As she stood there with the door open she heard a noise.  Tilting her head to one side and listening intently, Amber wondered where the sound had come from. 

Closing the fridge door, Amber listened, her heart racing.  Something wasn’t right.

THUMP.

There it was again.  Grabbing the largest kitchen knife she could find, Amber made her way into the hall, all senses on high alert.

Just as she reached the bottom of the stairs, the phone rang.

Shrieking in surprise, Amber raced to answer it, hoping that the noise hadn’t woken the sleeping children.  She tripped on the rug before reaching a hand up to the coffee table, fumbling for the handset.

“Hello?  Carpenter residence,” she said, puffing heavily, rubbing her knee.

Silence greeted her.

“Hello?”  She counted to three before hanging up.  Clearly a crank call.  Or possibly a wrong number.

She placed the phone back in the cradle and got to her feet.  She lifted the leg of her jeans.  Her knee was sore and she was almost certain it would bruise.  She poked it and winced.  Yes, it would most definitely bruise.

Hobbling towards the kitchen Amber hoped that the Carpenters had an ice pack.  She pulled open the freezer when the phone rang again.

Sighing, Amber closed the freezer door and moved as quickly as she could back into the living room.  Picking the phone up, Amber noted it was coming from an unknown number. 

“Hello?  Carpenter residence,” she answered, ignoring the throbbing that was happening in her knee. 

Once again she was met with silence.  Getting irritated Amber clucked her tongue.  “Whoever this is, this isn’t funny,” she said.  “It’s highly annoying.  Call back again and I’ll rip your ball off and force you to eat them.”  She slammed the phone back down and waited.  If it was a prankster, they’ll call back.  They always do.

Sure enough, the phone began to ring.  Amber answered with an exasperated, “Hello?”

This time rather than silence, Amber could hear heavy breathing.  “Hello?” she said again, her voice firm with an edge of irritation. 

“Have you checked the children?” came a raspy male voice.

Amber felt the palms of her hands grow clammy as she tried to slow her pounding heart with deep, steady breaths.  “Dr. Carpenter?” she asked.  The man on the other end hung up.

Amber raced back into the kitchen, still clutching the phone and the knife.  She checked the emergency numbers on the fridge.  Dr. Carpenter had said they were going out to dinner before going to the ballet.  His phone would be switched off at the ballet and promptly turned back on when it finished which would be about eleven o’clock.

Glancing at the wall clock, Amber swore under her breath.  It was just 8:45 which meant the Carpenter’s would have finished dinner and would be on their way to the ballet.

She dialed the cell phone number anyway, hoping that he or his wife would pick up.

“Hello.  You’ve reached Dr. Jason Carpenter.  I am unavailable to take your call at the moment.  If this is a medical emergency, beep me.  Otherwise, leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

“Hi, Dr. Carpenter.  It’s Amber, the babysitter.  I was just wondering if you called here a little while ago.  I’m getting some strange phone calls and I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t from you.  Please call me back.”

She hung up, feeling flustered, her heart still pounding away in her chest.

Glancing around the corner, Amber could see the stairs.  Putting the knife down on the counter and shoving the phone into the back pocket of her jeans, Amber started towards the stairs, her hand gliding gently over the wooden railing.

She stood outside the children’s bedroom, her ear pressed against the door as she listened.  She couldn’t hear anything except the sound of the sound machine the kids used in order to get to sleep.  Quietly, Amber opened the door and popped her head into the room.  Both Nathan and Hannah were sound asleep, both of them cuddling a teddy bear each.

“Sleep tight, kids,” Amber whispered, closing the door.

No sooner had she made it downstairs then the phone rang.  Amber let out a sharp scream, fumbling for the phone, startled by the sudden noise.

“Hello?” she said breathlessly.

“How are the children?”

The phone fell from Amber’s hand, hitting the hardwood floors with a thud.  Her heart was racing, in danger of leaping out of her chest like a cartoon character.  She dived on the phone.  “Who is this?!” she demanded, trying to steady her shaking voice.

There was nothing but silence on the other end.  Then came the dial tone.

With tears in her eyes, Amber dialed 911, chewing nervously on her nail. 

“I need the police!” she told the operator.

As she was being patched through, Amber rang around the lower level of the house, closing all the curtains, scanning the outside of the house to see if anyone was watching her.

“This is Officer Porter.  How can I help you?”

“My name is Amber Duran.  I’m babysitting Dr. Jason Carpenter’s children and I’m getting harassing phone calls from some man.”

“Are they obscene?  What does he say?”

“No, they’re not obscene.  Sometimes he just doesn’t say anything at all.  He just keeps calling.  Then he asked me if I had checked the children.  Then he called back after I had and asked how they were.  He’s watching me, I know it.”

“Ma’am, you’re going to have to calm down.  Now there’s nothing I can really do, but I’ll put in a call to the telephone company and ask them to trace the number.  Do you have the address of where the house?”

Amber flipped through some of the mail on the coffee table until she found an envelope.  “Yes.  It’s 1630 Revello Drive.”

“I know where that is,” Officer Porter said.  “I’ll have a unit swing by, but it’ll probably take half an hour.  If he calls back, you have to keep him on the line for a full minute.  Then we’ll be able to trace his whereabouts.  Will you be alright until then?”

Amber nodded meekly before replying softly with, “Yes.”  She thanked Officer Porter and hung up.

Standing in the lounge, Amber wiped the tears away from her cheeks.  “It’s probably just some loser from school,” she told herself in an attempt to calm her nerves.

The phone rang again.  This time Amber looked at her watch as she answered.

“Hello?”

All she could hear was heavy breathing.

“I know you’re there,” she said, eyes still fixed on her watch.  “I can hear you breathing.  What is it that you want?”

The breathing continued.

“Are you calling for the Carpenters?” she asked, biting her lip, hoping he’d say something obscene so she could ring the police back.

He didn’t respond.

Fear was building within Amber and she swallowed hard to remove a lump that had formed in her throat.

“You obviously want something, otherwise you wouldn’t be calling me.  So just tell me what you want.”

Her watch ticked over.  She had done.  He was on the phone for a full minute.

“To bathe in your blood,” came his raspy voice.

Disgusted, shocked and terrified, Amber hung up.  Her eyes welled up again, tears sliding down her cheeks.  Her whole body was shaking.  She wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take.

The phone rang.  In a fit of blind rage, Amber answered.  “Listen asshole! You ring here again and I-“

“Amber, it’s Officer Porter.  Amber?  Listen to me.  We traced the call.  It’s coming from inside the house.  Do you hear me?  It’s coming from inside the house.  I’ve got a car heading over there now.  Get the kids and get out!”

Chills went up Amber’s spine as the phone dropped from her hand.  The man who was stalking her was inside the Carpenter house.

Her eyes darted to the front door.  She ran to it, punching in the security code before unlocking it, letting the breeze open it.

Taking the stairs two at a time, Amber raced into the children’s bedroom.  She ripped the sheets off Hannah’s bed to find her lifeless body.  Her eyes were open, her throat slit as blood poured down the side of her bed, pooling on the carpet. 

Ripping the blanket off Nathan, Amber was horrified to see him dead as well.

Gagging, she backed out of the room and took off running down the stairs.  Her eyes fixated on the front door as she bolted down the hall.

As she got closer to the wide open front door, she could taste freedom.  Sirens blared in the distance.  Just a few more steps and this nightmare would be over.

As she reached the front door, Amber stopped, breathing hard.  She turned back and looked at the lounge, wondering what she was going to tell Dr. Carpenter and his wife. 

She turned back, watching the trees outside sway.  She took a step out the door.  The sirens were getting louder.  Amber sighed.  It was over.

Just as she was feeling more relaxed, a hand landed on her shoulder.  Thrashing about and screaming, Amber came face to face with the stranger who was calling her.  The knife he held gleamed brightly under the pale moonlight.

With one swift movement he ran it across her throat.  Amber felt the wound open, blood seeping down her neck and chest, covering her clothes.  Her hand went up to cover the wound as she gagged, gasping for air. 

The sparkle from her eyes faded as she collapsed on the front deck, blood pouring from her slit throat. 

The last thing she saw was the stranger who called disappearing into the blackness of the night.

6 comments:

  1. I was hoping that they'd be ok, but naturally you've turned this legend on it's head again. What legend is this based on? Fantastic story

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  2. Nice. Very eerie and chilling. Great job

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  3. This was quite long but it still gave me goosebumps. Thanks for sharing this

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  4. Oh wow. I thought that the babysiter and the kids would be ok. I didn't think they'd die. I'm never babysiting again.

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  5. My heart was beating in my chest as I read this. I was certain that she would die; it seems to be the way with your stories. Loved the ending. Very strong story.

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